Singapore Writers Festival Opening

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My feet are killing me, but I had a good time at the Singapore Writers Festival Opening!

I was invited because I’m one of the MLs for the Singapore chapter of Nanowrimo, so today I went down to The Arts House! Nanowrimo represent! Also, I got to feel all literary and posh.

The Arts House front porch

The Arts House front porch

I was joined by Seriously Sarah and Raven Azure, which was good because otherwise I’d probably end up just standing in a corner trying to be inconspicuous.

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My companions Sarah and Raven

And we were occasionally joined by the wonderful Wena Poon, who has got a wicked sense of humor. I’ve just read her article in the latest edition of Quill magazine – in the space of two pages, she references Shakespeare, X-Men, SimCity, Star Wars and the O-levels. But she’s more posh and literary than I am, so she mingled more!

Raven and Wena

Raven and Wena

But anyway. There was some mingling and drinking until just after sunset, when the opening officially started.

The first speaker was Emeritus Prof Edwin Thumboo, who is one of Singapore’s foremost literary pioneers. He is this year’s SWF Singapore Literary Pioneer, and the focus of an exhibition being held at The Arts House celebrating his career – his list of awards is longer than my arm, but suffice it to say that he’s one of the most important literary figures from Singapore.

Edin Thumboo

Emeritus Prof Edwin Thumboo

Second speaker was Philip Jeyaretnam, who is also another big name in Singapore literature. He was heavily involved in organising both SWF 07 and 09, and it was especially nice that he named Nanowrimo as one of the events that start/end writing activities during SWF :D

Philip Jeyaratnam

Philip Jeyaretnam, Chairman of the SWF Steering Committee

And the last speaker was RADM (NS) Lui Tuck Yew, Acting Minister for Information, Communication and the Arts. Mr Lui thanked the sponsors and welcomed the guests from abroad.

Mr Lui Tuck Yew

Acting Minister for Information, Communication and the Arts, RADM (NS) Lui Tuck Yew

And then he opened the SWF officially by lighting up the giant installation right outside the Arts House, which you can see in the top picture! It is very cool.

After that was a reception. There were some demonstrations inside The Arts House as well as a movie screening, but it was quite crowded so we didn’t go for that. Instead we had food, which was quite nice.

They had a literal dessert shelf, which was a novel way of presenting the food. They had little slices of cheesecake, which was very nice, and marshmallows and pudding. There were waiters walking around with little finger food. There were cute little chicken pies, and I ate something strange with mushrooms. I’m still not entirely sure what it was, though we think it was beef.

Marshmallows in chocolate and graham crumble

Marshmallows in chocolate and graham crumble

There were all sorts of interesting food, like salmon wellington – spinach and salmon baked in a puff pastry. There was also Peking duck, rolled up in those little pancakes with sauce and cucumbers. My favorite and the most novel was the Hainanese chicken rice, which was made into little bite-sized pieces by making the rice into squat little cylinders topped with a bit of chicken. That was absolutely adorable to eat, but I don’t have any pictures.

Chef cutting up salmon wellington

Chef cutting up salmon wellington

I never know how to eat at such posh events, so in the end I was still hungry. Oh well. They had a very nice white wine, though.

But yes! The opening was very posh, and a nice start to the SWF. I’ll be going to quite a few events over the duration of the Fest, so watch this space for more pictures and stuff!

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